August 15th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Pentagon using mail, fax, e-mail for overseas voter registration

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Pentagon is working with states to ensure that troops and their families overseas can have their votes count this election day.

A Pentagon survey after the 2004 election found 73% of military voters overseas cast absentee ballots, said Polli Brunell, Director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, at a press conference at the Pentagon today.

In 2006, an Election Assistance Commission survey found that less than half, 47.6% of ballots, from overseas military voters were cast or counted.

Brunelli said that feedback from states this year is that interest is higher than previous elections, judging from participation in the primaries.

"We are looking for alternatives for our voters, to give them access," said Polli Brunelli, Director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

The absentee program allows for both voting by mail and electronic methods, including fax and emails.
Twenty-one states passed laws to allow delivery of blank ballots by fax and email and returned in the same method.

The Pentagon is also asking states to post blank ballots on secure servers for voters to download and return.

The military has a federal absentee ballot, that excludes local races, for military members whose states cannot get them a state ballot in due time. Military members overseas and their family can use the ballot as long as they've previously requested a state ballot. If the state ballot comes after that, the voter can vote on that and return it as well. State offices have procedures to ensure the vote isn't counted twice.

"There is no excuse for any voter to say 'I did not vote because I never got my ballot,'" said J. Scott Wiedmann, deputy director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

There is also a web site, fvap.gov, that gives all the details for voters.

Additionally, the US Postal Service and military postal service to expedite delivery of state ballots to troops around the world, including those deployed on battlefield, and get them returned in an expedited fashion.

Troops cannot yet vote online. The Pentagon is working with Congress and states to develop standards to allow for that in coming elections.


Filed under: Pentagon
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Good! That many more votes for Obama!

    August 15, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Troops for Obama

    I agree with Rob. I don't trust this system. But you cannot deny that most of the troops are for Obama. Most of those troops over there want to be home with their families. They want out too but they don't want to look unpatriotic for saying it.

    August 15, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Deb, Allentown, PA

    What I'd like to know is who will be overseeing this so that the Republicans can't commit the same type of voter fraud we saw in Ohio in 2004.

    I trust these guys about as far as I could kick them. Look at what just happened with the FEC ruling! Big surprise that they found in favor of McCain...NOT!

    August 15, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I would hope that all the troops get a chance to vote. It is important for all Americans to vote in every election our country has.

    August 15, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. ProudDemocrat

    I do not trust Pentagon they better not mess with our troops votes count , it they do we will know our troops support obama 6-1, just to give you heads up.

    August 15, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. karen-phoenix

    Can they still have a regular ballot and mail it in? This sure sounds like a republican ploy!! The troops are not only supporting Obama 6 to 1 but they are sending him donations!!!! They want out too!!! Go Obama

    August 15, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Barry Soetoro

    Dr. YES...

    Don't know where you got those numbers... would be interested to see them...

    A poll conducted late last year by the Military Times found that 57 percent of those surveyed consider themselves Republican, while 13 percent identified with the Democrats. Among the officer corps the numbers were different. Nearly 66 percent of officers considered themselves Republican compared with 9 percent Democratic. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed by the Military Times declined to answer the questions or said they were independent.

    August 15, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. LYNETTE IN CA

    THE PENTAGON CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO HANDLE THIS PROPERLY. PLEASE FAMILIES TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN IF YOU WANT YOUR LOVED ONES TO BE COUNTED FAIRLY!

    OBAMA '08 / '12

    August 15, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. evan caester

    McCain should retire and soon!.
    He can say anything he wants, I am still voting for Obama.

    August 15, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Barry Soetoro

    Dr. YES...

    "A poll conducted late last year by the Military Times found that 57 percent of those surveyed consider themselves Republican, while 13 percent identified with the Democrats. Among the officer corps the numbers were different. Nearly 66 percent of officers considered themselves Republican compared with 9 percent Democratic. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed by the Military Times declined to answer the questions or said they were independent."

    Don't know where you got your numbers... Barry's website maybe?

    August 15, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Dan , TX

    Yes, count the votes of those patriots and heros!

    Obama '08

    August 15, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Clinton/McCain

    DR. YES,

    In your dreams.

    August 15, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Excellent. For too many years the overseas votes of our fighting men and women have been overlooked.

    If anyone has the right to have their vote cast, it is a fighting man or women overseas in an armed conflict.

    August 15, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Brendan, Dallas, TX

    Dr. Yes,
    I am curious to see where you get those numbers. I spent 7 years in the Navy from 1996-2003 and have a great deal of close friends still in the service, many of whom are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places. Your claim is contrary to everything I have heard. Not to say that you are wrong, I'm just curious as to the source, or was this just your opinion? If so, how have you come to this opinion? Thanks.

    August 15, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Carmen Colorado

    Do not trust anything that this administration does. Obama is going to have clean house to get all the bad apples out. Bush did a number on the USA and the whole world. Need to clean house as fast as we can.

    August 15, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Chut Pata

    Washington is hoping that all the military personnel are going to vote McCain enblock, and maybe that will save the sinking ship of McCain. From what I am hearing, military votes are not a surety for McWar. They are totally disillusioned that this war is for the safety of the USA. They have started believing that maybe this war is for oil for the oil mafia.

    August 15, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. republicans hate america

    they want to intercept the miltary vote being that most of them support Obama

    August 15, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. jason

    i'm suprised the government is allowing those it sends to die to have any say in the matter..

    August 15, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Open Your 3rd Eye

    I DON'T TRUST THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 15, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Jackson

    More proof that the democrats would have lost by even more in '04.

    More proof that the democrats work illegally to suppress Republican votes.

    August 15, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Troop from overseas

    Dr. Yes, you have lost your mind to think any portion of the military is for Obama over Mccain. You fail.

    August 15, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. williefloyd

    Something about this doesn't smell right. Not much difference in not getting counted and not knowing whether they were properly counted or not

    OBAMA/BIDEN.

    August 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. James

    Good news.

    Our men and women in uniform and thier families deserve more than the lip service and pat on the back stagecraft provided by McCain.

    Thier votes should be counted.

    I just hope that they are actually aware of the voting record of McCain when it comes to enlisted benefits as well as veteran benefits that McCain has VOTED AGAINST on an almost consistent basis. He thinks that looking out for our veterans and their families is PORK.

    Obama 08,12

    August 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. Matt-NE

    1) McCain has more likely voters in the Military.

    2) Obama has received more MONEY than McCain from the military.

    Some people have no grasp on facts.

    #1 will win the election.

    #2 can buy it, but will not win it.

    August 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. donna4hillary

    troops stationed overseas support obama 6 to 1 over mccain.
    _______________
    i doubt that. if that is the case then it tells me that our troops want to come home, that they no longer want to win the war, that they want to cut and run. those are the only people that would vote for obama in my opinion. a real soldier would get the job done before leaving and coming home. a real soldier would have honor in servig this country and not to whine about it. remember that THEY ALL knew what they were getting into when they signed up. they joined and with that came pride and honor and so i do not belive that they want obama as the cic and that they want to give up.

    August 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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